Thursday, April 28, 2011

Back From Vacation Finally!

Hello everyone I'm back after a short vacation in sunny Florida. I spent the last little period on the beaches of Miami getting some much needed R&R after a pretty frantic past month recovering from a chaotic work schedule and also several family crisis's. When the opportunity came up to goto Miami Beach for a vacation you can understand why I jumped at the chance. It was a short but great holiday saw the sites and just relaxed. I promised my girlfriend I'd leave the Blackberry, Laptop and hockey phone calls at home but I figured I'd at least get to watch the highlights and catch some games secretly at some bars. Funny enough I was wrong. I was pretty shocked to find out that there was absolutely nothing there. Even ESPN sports didn't cover highlights unless it was the Rangers and Washington series. Even at the Sports bars hockey was clearly in last place as almost every sport was on TV except hockey. There was one breakfast place I managed to find that showed highlights so I found myself eating there in the morning and or sneaking updates and scores via Blackberry (Which is going to be an expensive roaming bill). Before I left I talked to one of my good friends who happened to have lived all around Florida and he told me good luck with hockey even in places like St. Petersburg. I thought he was just pulling my leg as he claimed that tickets are pretty much given away as gas stations and in other promotions. I was pretty shocked to see while it was only Miami it was clear hockey had no place there and didn't fit in other than the few Habs fans who made comments on me rocking a Canadiens shirt. It left me to wonder how the league has expanded to Florida twice and how stable these teams really are? Anyways I just thought I'd share my experience and announce my return as updates will be coming fast and furious now that I'm well rested and the daily schedule is back in place. At least 2 updates daily from here on out plus all the major news and signings. I'll add also A KHL End Of Season report Tuesday evening as well as some Junior End Of Season Rumors late this week.

Thanks for the tuning in guys and making this site your number one stop for hockey rumors and reports!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ice Scoopz: Western Conference Preview


(1) Vancouver Canucks vs Chicago Blackhawks (8)
-Offense- Theres no denying that the Canucks are the heavy favorites after finishing first in the league and should also be heavy favorites in an offensive battle with the Hawks. The Sedin twins remain at the top of the league and should continue the offensive production that carries the Canucks. A physical battle will play a major part but this time the Canucks should prevail if there back half holds up again'st Chicago's experienced back half.

-Defense- The Blackhawks are the favorites for defense in this series however. The Blackhawk's Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook still remain one of the leagues most dangerous and skilled pairings. They have the ability to steal a series on their own especially if they way the way they did when Chitown won the cup. The Canucks have a fragile core of defenders and if the series gets long they could find themselves in the same boat as the regular season, struggling to ice a blue line.

-Goaltending- It's going to be a long hard series for young Corey Crawford as he enteres his first post season while Roberto Loungo hasn't exactly had his share of post season magic he is the better goaltender and should win a head to head battle. It Marty Turco can shake off the rust his experience may help the Hawks.

-The Prediction- A tough call but given Chicago's history over the Canucks, I'm saying Chicago in 7.

(2) San Jose Sharks vs Los Angeles Kings (7)
-Offense- This should be a good series as the Sharks and the Kings both have heavy artillery to shell their opponents. The Joe Thornton - Dany Heatley combo can be one of the most dangerous lines in hockey but have had the playoff bust label on the pair of them for quite some time. This season rookie standout Logan Couture should help add some additional offensive support. The Kings have Dustin Penner and Anze Kopitar but the Kings management have had problems sparking their offense all season.

-Defense- The Kings defensive depth is pretty impressive and are set for a long run with a little bit of everything from grit to skill. Drew Doughty will be the key to the Kings winning this series, a cerebral do everything above average type of player which the Sharks have been longing for, for quite some time.

-Goaltending- The goaltending in this series is pretty equal. Anti Niemi has the ability to be the better goalie but is inconsistent at best. His counterpart Jonathan Quick has played steady this season but I personally don't believe has that carry a team on his back ability. Niemi has that ability as shown on the Hawks cup run.

-The Prediction- The Sharks in 6

(3) Detroit Red Wings vs Phoenix Coyotes (6)
-Offense- The Yotes have barely been able to score all season long so the Detroit Red Wings who have consistently been an offensive force should be able to easily dominate the Coyotes forwards. The Coyotes have a lot of character but it will be hard to stop a deadly offense with weapons such as Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and playoff legend Johan Franzen. Even the Wings younger cast appears ready to continue the offense.

-Defense- Detroit has Nicklas Lidstrom a future hall of famer and still is year after year one of the leagues best defensemen even at 40. The Wings surrounding cast have done a good job buying into the system and there really appears to be no weak links. The Phoenix defense is also pretty good as well and one of the organizations main strengths but it'll be hard to match the experience the Red Wing blueline brings to the table as well as the offensive tidal wave thats about to hit them.

-Goaltending- This may be Phoenix's only hope, it all rest on one man's back Ilya Bryzgalov. He has to ability to be a high tier goaltender and can steal a game or two if needed. Jimmy Howard is good but still hasn't proven himself to many in the post season. The Coyotes are going to need Bryzgalov to be better than good if they want to win this series while Jimmy Howard just has to show some drive and consistency.

-The Prediction- Detroit in 4

(4) Anaheim Ducks vs Nashville Predators (5)
-Offense- An understatement would be to say the Nashville Predators are an offensively challenged team although this season they've managed to get a bit more or an impact from their surrounding cast other than Martin Erat and Patrick Hornqvist. Meanwhile the Anaheim Ducks have an abundance of offensive talent and Ryan Getzlaf should lead the charge. Getzlaf is one of the most underrated players in the league while Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne and Bobby Ryan should all help with the load. If the Ducks come out swinging offensively speaking, the Preds could find themselves knocked out in the first round.

-Defense- The Anaheim D is pretty deep but I've been more impressed with the Nashville backend. Shea Weber is going to be the key to the Predators winning, he is their everything and if he falters so will they. Ryan Parent and Shea Weber shouldn't be taking any steps back this post season as they both are ready to show why their considered the best pairing in the league. The Anaheim blueline boasts the highly skilled Lubomir Vishnovksy and young Cam Fowler as well a decent surounding cast but the Shea Weber / Ryan Parent combo as well as the Preds ability to play defensive hockey still seals the deal in this category for me.

-Goaltending- Regularly I'd say the Anaheim Ducks would be the hands down favorite in net with Jonas Hillier but till he's healthy there really isn't a debate. Pekka Rinne will give the Predators every chance to emerge from this series victorious. The tandem of Dan Ellis and Ray Emery wouldn't be many teams first or second choice.

-The Prediction- I'm still thinking Anaheim but in 7

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ice Scoopz: Eastern Conference Playoff Preview

(1) Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers(8)
-Offense- The Washington Capitals take the offense catagory with ease as they boast more than enough firepower with Alexander Ovechkin, Mike Green and Alexander Semin especially with Ryan Callahan out for the Blue Shirts.

-Defense- The Capitals and the Rangers remain tied if Mike Green doesn't regain his form but if he does he'll help the Caps squeeze out the Rangers defensively. The Capitals have surprisingly been a better defensive team this season especially with the surprise addition of Scott Hannan who has seamed to stabilize the backend. The Rangers have a good defense but still lack that offensive force like Mike Green.

-Goaltending- The goaltending advantage goes to the New York Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist is one of the best goalies in the league and he has the ability to steal games. the Capitals boast a tandem where neither goalie can get the edge on the starter job and Semyon Varlamov is reportedly extremely unhappy with his position in the franchise.

-Prediction- Washington in 6

(2)Philedelphia Flyers vs Buffalo Sabres (7)
-Offense- The Flyers should be able to out score the Sabres with 3 potent offensive lines if they can get on a role again. Claude Giroux had a break end to his season last year in the post season and there should be no reason why he can't repeat again. The Sabres arn't the same offensive force they've been in the past and will likely continue to struggle unless they can get everyone on board.

-Defense- The Flyers have one of the best defense corps on paper and with seasoned playoff veteran Chris pronger back the Flyers become even more stable and add that extra element they've been missing. It's been no secret the Sabre's have struggled on their backend all year long and they'll find it a tough challenge to compete agains't Phillys firepower.

-Goaltending- Even though Ryan Miller isn't the same goalie this season he still has the ability to beat out both of the Flyers potential starters. Miller can easily be the factor of this series if he gets healthy and gets his head back in the game. He remains the Sabres only hope of stealing this series in my opinion. Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky will both need to show a little more magic this post season but even a not right Miller still beats both out.

-The Prediction - The Flyers in 5

(3) Boston Bruins vs Montreal Canadiens (6)

-Offense- The Bruins will be able to decimate the Canadiens woeful offense as the Canadiens have seamed to have lost all chemistry since the Max Pacioretty injury. They have not been the same team since and will likely stick to their challenged ways and look to play a defense first approach and try and capitalize on their few chances while the Bruins will look to break apart the Habs blueline with physical play.

-Defense- On paper the Canadiens look like they should be a better defense but as of late and the addition of Tomas Kaberle should secure this statistic for the B's. The Canadiens need their shut down defensemen to actually start shutting down their opponents, Brent Sopel, Hal Gill and Roman Hamerlik will all have to be at the top of their game while P.K Subban will need to once again fire up his squad with his timely goals and catalyst style of play.

-Goaltending- This is the only catagory the Canadiens should be able to take which many will argue but I believe that Carey Price will be the MVP of this series if the Canadiens squeek by. Price has been through this pressure before and has learned from his mistakes, he also witnessed first hand from the bench last season what kind of magic is needed in nets for the Canadiens to win. Tim Thomas has been great all season long but has a habit of poor showings in the playoffs.

-The Prediction- This one was a really hard one but Boston in 6

(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning (5)
-Offense- The Tampa Bay Lightning have a significant advantage over the Pens this year as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin remain out of the lineup for what is believed to be the season. Tampa Bay has lots of firepower and Vincent Lecavalier has had a quiet but strong season although it doesn't show it in the points statistics. If Stamkos continues to be able to put the puck in the net at an incredible pace the Bolts should blow past 3 of the 4 Penguin lines.

-Defense- The Penguins defense has finally started to show they have chemistry after almost a full season while the Tampa Bay defense can be great one night then horrible the next. Zybnyk Michalek will need to continue to shine offensively as the Penguins move forward. The Bolts will need a better effort from Mattias Ohlund and company if their going to shut down the few guns the Pens have.

-Goaltending- The Penguins also win with Marc-Andre Fleury behind them but they could face a motivated Dwayne Roloson as the veteran goalie is capable of brilliant playoff performances and also knowing this may be his last kick at the can so for that reason I think goaltending is tied. Fleury is the more talented goaltender easily but Roloson has an incredible drive and this year appears to be incredibly motivated also.

-The Prediction - Tampa Bay in 6

Stay Tuned some news and signings this afternoon followed by the Western Conference preview.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ice Scoopz: Monday Morning

*-> The Edmonton Oilers have signed ECHL and AHL 22 year old Mark Arcobello to a 2 year entry level deal after he recorded 16 points in 21 games with the Oklahoma City Barons after coming over from Stockton of the ECHL.

*-> The Phoenix Coyotes have signed free agent and Hobey Baker Finalist Andy Miele to what is believed to be a 2 year entry level deal plus incentives.

*-> The New Jersey Devils also added am American University/College free agent to their line up. Mike Sislo of the University of New Hampshire was signed to a 2 year entry level deal and will join the Albany Devils for the remainder of the season.

*-> I'm hearing the Ottawa Senators should be close to a contract with young Swede Andre Petersson as he rehabs and trains with the Ottawa Senators. Petersson has come over from HV71 to help get back into form after suffering an injury late season. Talks are on the go and could be done within a couple days.

*-> Reports out of Russia have goaltender Seymon Varlamov of the Washington Capitals unhappy with his current situation with the Capitals and has express his desire to return back to Russia. Lokomotiv Yaroslavl has reportedly told the Russian goaltender if he wishes to return to Russia they've have an opening in net for him to become the sole starter.